Wheeling Symphony Orchestra announces Music Director André Raphel has received the honorary title of conductor laureate of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. The recognition ceremony and reception celebrating the honor was held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, at Oglebay’s Wilson Lodge.
Raphel has been music director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra since 2003, during which time he has raised the artistic profile and musical standards of the orchestra. He has led the orchestra in critically acclaimed festivals, world premieres and commissioned works by Richard Danielpour, Jennifer Higdon, Kenneth Fuchs and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. He conducted the WSO in its first-ever performance of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7. Maestro Raphel has established composer residencies and led the orchestra on tour, including concerts at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh and the League of American Orchestras national conference.
While music director, Raphel has created innovative programming that drew critical acclaim. He has launched many special projects and audience development initiatives such as the College Concert Series. He continues to have a busy career as guest conductor and has led most of the major American orchestras, including New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra.
“It is a great honor to be named conductor laureate of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra,” said Raphel. “Moreover, it is a testament to what we’ve accomplished as an organization during the last 15 years. Working with the board, staff and wonderful musicians of the WSO has been a constant source of inspiration, making for a meaningful collaboration and fulfilling artistic experiences.”
Prior to joining the WSO as its music director, Raphel held prestigious posts as assistant conductor with major orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Saint Louis Symphony. He has worked internationally recording with the Bamberg Symphony, toured Germany extensively and also led concerts in the Czech Republic.
“The board of directors is extremely proud to bestow upon Maestro André Raphel the honorary title of conductor laureate,” said Christina Terek, president of the WSO board of directors. “Through his leadership, programming and commitment to excellence, Maestro Raphel has created incredible musical triumphs in his 15-year tenure with the orchestra. The board of directors is honored to celebrate André Raphel and his work with our Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.”
Maestro Raphel will conduct the final concert of the 2017-18 season, Respighi’s Pines of Rome, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 18, at The Capitol Theatre in Wheeling. The program will consist of works by Dvorak, Beethoven, R. Strauss and Respighi. Following the concert, the symphony will host a public celebration for Maestro Raphel at the Capitol Theatre Ballroom. For tickets and more information, visit wheelingsymphony.com.